Afghan surge is new challenge for US forces exiting Iraq

US military in Iraq faces logistical challenge in maintaining combat effectiveness while giving max possible support to soldiers in Afghanistan.

Updated: Dec 02, 2009, 19:28 PM IST

Joint Base Balad (Iraq): The US military
in Iraq faces a logistical challenge in maintaining its combat
effectiveness while giving the maximum possible support to
soldiers fighting "Obama`s war" in Afghanistan.

There are currently 115,000 American soldiers in Iraq
-- a force that dwarfs the 71,000 in Afghanistan -- but the
security situation remains volatile.

US commanders in Iraq are also grappling with a
political stalemate that has thrown a general election
originally planned for mid-January into chaos, further
complicating the military`s plans for a smooth exit of around
65,000 troops by late August and a total withdrawal by the end
of 2011.

President Barack Obama`s decision to send 30,000 extra
troops to Afghanistan comes amid the early stages of a
colossal operation to catalogue and ship out millions of items
of kit amassed by US forces in more than six years of war.

The equipment ranges from Humvee and MRAP fighting
vehicles and ammunition to more mundane items such as
furniture and office supplies.

Hardware, along with troops, have already made their
way to Afghanistan to help the US war effort, but logistics
officers in Iraq say Obama`s "surge" cannot be viewed in